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Woman gets six years in killing of Masury teen

Published: Sat, August 13, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



In the statement Karen Adams gave to Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on Friday before being sentenced to six years in prison, she wasn’t taking all of the blame for Robert Flynn’s death.

Adams fatally shot Flynn, 15, of Masury, Aug. 9, 2009, when Flynn and other youths arrived at her house at 2:30 a.m. to confront Adams’ boyfriend, Paul Sundy, regarding Sundy’s teen daughter. The boys had baseball bats and metal pipes.

“A lot of mistakes were made that night, not all of them on my part,” said Adams, 31, of Stateline Road in Masury.

Adams pleaded guilty earlier to involuntary manslaughter and three counts of felonious assault.

“I think if any lesson should be learned from this, it’s by teaching our kids about morals and right from wrong, and knowing where they are, a lot can be prevented,” Adams said.

“That doesn’t change the decisions I made in a panic and in fear while trying to protect my family and my children.”

Adams is the mother of children age 12 and 10. Sundy, 42, is charged with tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, and his case is pending.

Prosecutors said the driver of the car, John Ost, 17, had threatened Sundy over the phone in advance of the confrontation, which gave credibility to Adams’ argument that she fired the gun in self-defense.

The boys involved were 17, 17, 16 and 15. Flynn would have been a freshman that fall at Brookfield High School.

The six-year sentence was a joint recommendation to Judge McKay from the prosecutors and defense.

A family member read a statement to the court from Kathy Gaines, Robert Flynn’s mother, in which she described how important Robert was to his family and how faithful he was to his friends.

“He was voted most dependable in school,” she said. “To his friends he was supportive, and they knew they could count on him. Even if it was just to talk or listen so they could vent.”

She agreed with Adams that mistakes were made the night Flynn died.

“I have asked myself a million times why would Robert get in that car. What went on that day had nothing to do with him. Robert made a bad decision that day and paid the ultimate price.

“Ms. Adams made many bad decisions that day,” she continued. “No punishment will ever take away my pain or bring back my son, but she took a human being’s life that day, and for that she must pay.”

Before sentencing Adams, Judge McKay said the case illustrates the reason why people are regularly told that they can’t resolve differences by fighting.

He added that three things can happen: “You might get hurt, someone else might get hurt, someone might go to prison.”

The 36 family and friends of Flynn who attended the hearing applauded as Adams was led from the courtroom in handcuffs to begin serving her prison term. Each was wearing a T-shirt containing pictures of Flynn.

Flynn’s stepfather, Terry Rankin, said after the hearing he was not satisfied with Adams’ six-year sentence.

“It’s ridiculous to kill a 15-year-old boy. She only got six years. That boy was nothing but an angel,” Rankin said.


1whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

nothing but a angel my arse...

what was he doing with baseball bats and a posse.

everyone that had a bat should of been charged with complicity to murder, thier intent was to do bodily harm.

BS for people trying to protect themseves.

Cops are trying to get citizens to trap speeders , report crimes because they cant be everywhere but when someone stands up for thier family cops dont stand up for them. .

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2Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

"The boys had baseball bats and metal pipes."

The moral here is that mobs have their rights . You can't just indiscriminately abridge them of their rights .

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3haynie9999(25 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I was born and raiesed on that street and there was never problems like that there those boys came there to damage to someone and the tables got turned around. The people have the right to defend there family. I feel injustice was done! What did the boys get?

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4observant1(111 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

If there is a lawyer out there who TRULY believes in justice, he should volunteer to take on this case and appeal the sentence. It is obvious that this woman did not have a competent attorney. She should have been advised to plead "Not Guilty" and gone to trial. Unless there are more facts that haven't been reported, I don’t believe that there is a jury in the world that would have convicted her.

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5Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

There has to be more to this story then what is reported here. If this isn't a classic case of self-defense then I don't know what is.

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6whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Well said Tonne !!!!!!!!!

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7woolyd(579 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

TONNE well said. I wish we could get the judge and prosecutor to explain what they would have done in this situation. I feel bad the kid died and maybe he was good and just caught up being "young and dumb" but that why kids should be kids and not try to live in the adult world where people will do what they need to in order to protect family.

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8DOLE2(595 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

A lawyer one day out of law school would have got her off!

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9Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

“It’s ridiculous to kill a 15-year-old boy. She only got six years. That boy was nothing but an angel,” Rankin said.
Rankin must be one he!! of a jackazz to suggest that someone that goes onto another person's property with metal pipe and baseball bat with intent to harm another person is an angel. In my world when someone shows up on my property with an implement of destruction with intent to do me or my family harm they have surrendered their right to life on planet earth and are subject to equal or superior force. A baseball bat or metal pipe can and does kill with great efficiency , so i ask this IDIOT Judge, what was this woman to do, call the police and wait the twenty minutes before the police show up and pray that her family is not killed in the meantime. Would this IDIOT Judge have preferred that this family all have their skulls crushed by these "angles". These people raised a f-ing punk who met his match, and they are crying a blue streak that he met his match on a day and place of HIS choosing.

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10outraged1(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

The only intelligent comment I read was that there is "more to the story". Yes, there is...How about the fact that the "adults" in the situation knew that they were coming to the house, which allowed plenty of time to call the police? If the police had not made it there before the boys, that would've been different. But they waited to call the police until after she shot him. In fact, the boys left, drove to another area & called for help before the murderer called to report what happened. Why so late? She was hiding the weapon, which was later recovered by police. How about the fact that Robert was inside the car? Self-defense does not allow you to shoot at someone in your driveway!! And if these boys were the first teenagers to be out late, that would be amazing! They may not have been making a good decision but to justify murder because they were out past curfew?? And don't blame it on parenting...unforunately, children make decisions that are out of the parents' control. We don't know where he was supposed to be that night, we don't even know that he had ever been out that late. Maybe he was opposed to going over there & just went because his friends were. We'll never know because he is not able to tell his side. All because an "adult" used extreme force to "defend" her kids? What mother justifies killing a child? A crazy one, that's who!!

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11whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago


What a dumb comment,

so I can just imagine if everyone was to call the police when someone calls for either prank or harrassment you would tie up the police for hours.

looks like the only mistake was the car didnt blow up.....

what a crappy lawyer, da must of said either take this deal or do 20 to life and scared the hell out of her.

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12Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

outraged1 :

"Self-defense does not allow you to shoot at someone in your driveway!! "

Self defense doesn't even give you blanket authority to shoot someone in your home if that person is known to you . These kids were known to the family and as such the law gives them more latitude . The were simply expressing themselves . As for the baseball bats and metal pipes they were just props to enhance their message . The homeowner being found guilty legitimizes others in future confrontations and will be used as a benchmark .

This woman is still open to civil liability and future wages can be garnished to satisfy any awards . Foreclosure on any future property holdings from judgements resulting in the case can also be in her future . When she gets out of prison she will never be really free .

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13whitesabbath(738 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

makes sense now steelhead figured there must of been more to this story...


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14outraged1(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Whitesabbath- Stick to one side, You agreed with Tonne when it was said that the boys called Sundy & said they were coming over but you don't think they should've called the police? That's exactly when they should've called! And my comment wasn't "dumb", it was based on the facts of the case. She went out of her way to hide the weapon & even tried to have children lie to police! Adams & Sundy lied & said the boys had guns...but only after they hid their gun & created a story of "self-defense". The police found the bats later when assisting with Robert.There is no proof the bats ever left the car, Robert didn't have time to get out of the car before he was shot. There were 14 shell casings found!! A person who is scared for their children, would immediately call the police, not continue arguing over the phone for hours, even provoking them to come over. And I applaud all of you parents who get out of bed during the middle of the night to drive to which ever friends' house your child is at, & check to see that they're still there. I'm hoping that you're not teaching your children that it is a justified action to fire from a window at children. The bottom line is that she wasn't threatened...she was safely in her house with multiple weapons & a phone. She could've had police waiting when they knew the boys were coming. The police have to respond & would have. And 6 yrs is far from being crusified! It's a slap on the wrist! Oh, & by the way, she pled guilty because she was bragging about it (there were witnesses to this) & changed her story several times. I'm sure she'll be rethinking her actions soon.

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15Octobersky09(1 comment)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Bayeranton- the right thing is to kill a child ? The arguments that went on before they arrived at the house were between Paul and another boy in the car.. Not Karen Adams. If they felt threatened by the teens they should have stayed inside and called the police. They took matters into their own hands by going outside. They lied to police after everything happened and their child told police where they hid the gun. Paul and Karen should be ashamed of what examples they have set as "parents."

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16Schmendrick(9 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

This is a perfect example of how poor reporting and writing can stir up an angry mob -- meaning most of the people on this string. When I read the story it didn't make sense because the reporter didn't elaborate about the specifics from police records or court testimony. The reporter should have included the information "outraged" mentioned if it was true and saved a lot of useless ranting. Ship the reporter back to J school for a refresher course in writing a COMPLETE story.

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17UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

She should have gotten more prison time for this murder. 6 years is hardly enough.

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18UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

She should have gotten more prison time for this murder. 6 years is hardly enough.

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19crimelander(122 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

What in the world?

Teenage thug pack calls ahead saying they are coming to inflict some pain on folks. So you do what? Call the police? That seems like an option perhaps, in our nanny state.

Sorry, but that's a crime (calling folks and threatening them). Were the hoodlums charged and are they doing time for that?

Then they show up I assume brandishing weapons (baseball bats and metal pipes), at 2:30 AM IN THE DARK OF NIGHT. Sure the weapons never left the vehicle. They didn't bring them not to use them. Bad intentions indeed.

The deceased would still be alive and kicking if his friends weren't terroristic delinquents. The fools in that vehicle are as much or more to blame for the death. If they would have acted civilized and not been out trying to bully folks, well we know.

Castle doctrine. Castle doctrine. Castle doctrine.

There are loose ends to this case and the accused allegedly changed her story. Ever dealt with the police after shooting someone? Yeah police aren't very nice and comforting after such an event for sure.

These teens were up to no good, looking for trouble, intending harm and they won the jackpot on this one.

Miscarriage of justice to some extent, but only if the accused was shooting into the car and the occupants never left the car.

As far as number of shots, 14 of them? Seems like a lot, but what sort of weapon was it (i.e. clip capacity)?

Plenty of professionally trained shooters have gone into whacked out mode unloading ample ammo in situations.

I can't imagine what the accused had going through her mind. I wouldn't be warm and fuzzy feeling at 2:30AM when a group of disrespectful and bad intentioned teen thugs was stopping by with clubs and pipes to inflict harm.

Action? Meet reaction.

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20outraged1(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

I never said the boys were right in their actions. But to shoot a 15 yr old in the driveway? To say that it was "extreme" would be a huge understatement! The law is set up to make adults more accountable for their actions for a reason.
Let's say for sake of argument that the bats were in their hands and they stepped out of the car...what is the worst that would've happened? A broken window? A dented door? An actual warning shot in the air, not shooting at the car, might have even been an option if she was legitmately scared. Sundy admitted that he went outside to the car. Just another example of being scared? No, obviously not. As far as being intimidated by police? They began having inconsistencies in their story beginning with their phone call to 911. Their actions were not made by people who were scared. And I can't help but smile when I see the comment that the boys comitted a crime in harassing Sundy over the phone...leads me back to my original point...why not report it?
And no, nothing will be changed in debating this but it sickens me that a child's life was lost due to a situation that was provoked, partly by one of the "adults" involved, instead of making a simple phone call or shutting the phone off. It sickens me that society is making excuses for murder. And more than anything, it saddens me that a mother lost her youngest child...a mother who came home after work everyday, not to the bar. A mother who tried to teach her son right from wrong. A mother who regrets every day letting her son spend the night at a friend's house. The grief isn't going to go away, especially when people who only know tidbits from a newpaper article, make judgements about her parenting & about her 15 yr old child who will never get to graduate high school, go to college, get married or have children. A life cut short by actions of someone who didn't use poor judgement...she didn't use any judgement.

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21outraged1(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

You are correct in assuming I am close to this case. I wasn't in the courtroom, however. I actually am in an unusual position because I'm friends with people who were close with both sides, the "adults" & the victim & his family. I was open-minded initially because I couldn't believe that someone who was a hunter, practiced gun-safety & had children could so easily allow a gun to be fired at a carload of teenagers. Unfortunately, as time went on, it came to light that is exactly what happened. The guilty showed no remorse, even bragging about that night. The victims family is trying to piece their lives back together. Remembering the positive that Robert brought to them. Trying to function normally, in order to raise their own children. Questioning why a simple mistake could have became deadly so fast. And I'm aware that both sides have a story but it's difficult to be sympathetic to someone who, guilty of a crime, spent the last year harassing the victims family, as well as other people through facebook. I sympathize for her children, as well as Sundy's. They are also victims in this. I realize that most of the people who posted comments are getting the story through newspaper articles but it is difficult to sit by & read that Kathy (Robert's mother) is guilty of something. She beats herself up daily for allowing her son to stay at a friend's house. I started by only stating facts from the trial & I've tried not to include things I learned outside of the courtroom. I'm not going to change anyone's mind but at least I've tried.

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22crimelander(122 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Good points Tonne and outraged1.

Strange situation all around in this shooting incident.

Do we believe that Adams intended on hitting and killing the deceased? I suspect she didn't.

Again, imagine a car load of threatening teens showing up at your place in the dark of night after they called advertising the pain forthcoming.

Where's the justice in this case? We can't bring the deceased back. The pack of teens can't undrive and uncall.

The only real partial issue is whether or not this amounted to excessive force per se. Facts lacking as reported, it doesn't appear so. But shooting someone in the back, which can happen legitimately is questionable.

What good does locking Adams up do? It deprives three children of a mother and sets them up for future failure.

We have people that rob and kill people point blank around here and aren't getting six year sentences. That's why I think it's harsh.

As for the antics of the 30-some shirt wearers with images of the deceased, that's totally insane that any Court would allow such antics of applause and probably other influences in the room.

Six years is too much in this case regardless of the immaturity and questionable stories told by Adams.

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23outraged1(5 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Actually, I would be just as outraged had it been a black 15 yr old!! My own children are black. My anger is in that Sundy provoked them over the phone for several hours before they finally came to the house. It wasn't as if they just decided they wanted to come assault people. They knew (according to Adams & Sundy) that they were coming. So we're supposed to believe that they sat, shaking in fear until they got there? No, in fact, Sundy met them in the driveway, ready to fight!! Which was not unusual based on people who know him...did anyone else see the size of him? He's not easily intimidated! Adams took it upon herself to fire a gun at the car! She wasn't scared!
I've had someone show up at my house in anger, trying to "start trouble". What did I do, despite the fact that I wanted to go outside & kick her ass? I called the police! Why? Because I had children in the house & I didn't know what kind of weapon she might have had.
And the reason that it wasn't mentioned that she was bragging & harassing people was because she pled guilty. There were witnesses ready to testify that she kept driving by the victim's home & who she told that she was not remorseful. And keep in mind that Sundy has lost relationships with family & friends due to his cocky, arrogant ways. And yes, it is true that a child's behavior is reflected from their home life but how many times do we see a child who gets into a situation that does not reflect his typical personality? All the time. The 16 yr old who goes to church with her family every Sunday becomes pregnant...everyone is shocked. The fact is...we, even at 15, have free wiil. So to say that Robert must have had a bad upbringing because he was in the car is ludricous. And yes, I agree that Adams children are sufering. But why would we want a murderer, who expresses no remorse, even in front of a judge, out in society? Some of you want the boys to serve time for phone harassment, breaking curfew & having a bat(s) in the car!! So let the guilty continue to roam the streets? Maybe she can continue to harass the victim's family? Maybe she can continue to harass people through facebook? Sadly, had it gone to a jury, she would've gotten off with less because she was home with her kids at the time.
I could not imagine being in a legitimate situation where my life was being threatened. But I would be rethinking my actions when I realized that I took the life of a 15 yr old boy.

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24southsidedave(5189 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

More violence in the Valley!

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25sharlice(2 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

Many teens in today's society have no morals, values and most of all no respect for adults. They do not care if a person or people are 8 years old or 108 years of age. Adults are afraid to walk or drive in fear that they will be attacked by teens or even worse murdered. Many of us see them everyday and at night. So many teens just don't care about anything or anyone anymore. They fear no one and they know many adlults are afraid of them. Many other kids are afraid of other teens. And we know many , many teens will hurt you and or kill you. They care nothing about the consequences behind what they do .Even how the treat each other. And unless you walk in a THREATENED ADULTS SHOES, NO ONE ANY WHERE CAN TRULY SAY HOW THEY WOULD RESPOND TO ANY SITUATION LIKE THAT. I am sorry to hear of the loss of another teen, because we have lost so many. My heart goes out th the family and friends of the teens. But this is what happens when teens do not think about the people, places and things that they do.I have lost so many family members young and old to sensless violence and many had anything to do with their deaths and some were hanging around people that they thought were their friends and no one could convince them that certain people were not their friends. A few of the victims answered their doors to their homes with smiles on their faces and ended up dead over he said she said nonsense and later the murderers admitted that it all was a lie.Murders today come in all shapes forms and fashions and reasons. Just think about it. It could happen to ANY OF US. AND DO WE REALLY KNOW HOW WE WOULD REACT IF SOME ONE OR A GROUP OF PEOPLE SHOWED UP AT OUR DRIVEWAY OR THE DOOR TO OUR HOMES WITH THE THREAT TO KILL. WHETHER THEY CALLED OR NOT BEFORE THEY CAME? JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT.....

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26southhi41(10 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

IF these punks trespassed, she would have got
10-15year sentence out here in Oklahoma for
NOT shooting all of them. People have a right
to be secure in their homes and not be threatened. IF you trespass after making threats over the phone you have to assume your are
in danger. Too bad there is not a military draft
at 17. These kids need something to do.

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27southhi41(10 comments)posted 4 years, 10 months ago

IF these punks trespassed, she would have got
10-15year sentence out here in Oklahoma for
NOT shooting all of them. People have a right
to be secure in their homes and not be threatened. IF you receive threats, you have a
right to prepare to defend yourself and your
property. Too bad there is not a military draft.
These kids would have something constructive
to occupy their time.

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